Sri Lankan Love Cake


Merry Christmas!! I hope you guys are enjoying the holiday season with lots of food and desserts and presents and more. I apologize for the lack of updates lately – it’s been hectic! Honestly, Christmas came around so quickly, I am not sure where the year went. If you’re still looking for recipes for tonight’s dinner, why not try making some cranberry sauce, or celeriac & parsnip puree (a feature on tonight’s dinner). 

Today I’m going to be sharing with you a recipe for a Sri Lankan cake, usually made on celebrations/various occasions, but always made around Christmas time in my household growing up. One of my best friends loves this cake (Tristan, I’m looking at you). It’s a rich, sweet cake, with a caramelized top, and full of texture. It may not be super healthy, but I’ve tailored it to be a little less heavy than it usually is, without compromising all of the taste (though my family begs to differ)! Plus, you only eat it on occasions! There are various many types of versions to make this cake, but I’ll be sharing the one my mom would make. I should warn you, it is a bit laborious, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Historically, “love cake” may have been a recipe that was adapted from Portuguese cuisine, when Sri Lanka was a colony. The reason for its name was because it was typically made by a mother who wanted a suitor to marry her daughter. It was said that by feeding him the cake, he would fall in love with their daughter. Whether or not that really is the case….well… traditions!

This cake is perfect with tea or coffee after your full meal 🙂


  • 1/4 lb semolina (~114 g)
  • 1/2 cup butter (I used vegan, which works fine too!)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 200g of sugar (I used a mix of cane sugar and coconut sugar)
  • rind of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 lb cashews (~114 g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 lb crystallized winter melon (found in Asian or South Asian stores), finely chopped


Preheat oven to 300 degrees C.

Using a food processor, process the cashews until it is roughly chopped. It is okay for the pieces to be uneven. Set aside. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Place the semolina in a pan, and let it toast on medium heat until it picks up a little colour. Mix with the butter until pasty and set aside.

Beat egg yolks and add sugar until combined. Add to the semolina mixture, and stir in the cashews, lime rind, vanilla, honey, brandy, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and crystallized melon. In a separate clean bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form and fold in the beaten egg whites in the cake mixture.

Pour in lined loaf pan, and bake in oven for about 1.5 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. You’ll need to check! Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy!!


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